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Bookish Advent Calendar 2018

Updated: Dec 26, 2018

December 1st, 2018

Today marks the first day of my Bookish Advent Calendar! From today until Christmas I'll be posting a children's book a day to inspire and enchant you. My first #bookadvent selection is Anita Ganeri's Star Stories: Constellation Tales From Around the World.

For thousands of years people have looked up to the night sky and told stories about the stars. These epic tales tell of vengeful gods and goddesses, of monsters and heroes. Others try to make sense of the natural world, or unravel the mysterious forces of the universe.

Beautifully illustrated by Andy Wilx, this stunning book brings together a selection of these legends from all over the world - from Ancient Greece to North America, Egypt, China, India and the South Pacific.

A magical book to be treasured for generations to come.

Shop Star Stories via Waterstones here.

December 2nd, 2018

Interviewed by the editor of the London Review of Books, Dr Wormwood said: "It's reassuring to know that I am never going to run out of something to read."'

October 2018 marked 30 years since Matilda was first published! And to celebrate the special birthday Puffin republished the original, magical story with three brand new covers depicting Matilda as the Chief Executive of the British Library, a World Taveller and an Astrophysicist. These never before seen illustrations by the one and only Quentin Blake have captured the remarkable child with a magical mind blossom into an inspirational woman.

A special reunion with a beloved fictional character that nobody will be forgetting anytime soon.

December 3rd, 2018

Set your sails east and embark on an extraordinary journey in this stunningly original new history of the world, written by bestselling author and historian Peter Frankopan and illustrated by the incredible Neil Packer.

From ancient world laws laid down by King Hammurabi and the mighty Persian empire, to terrifying huns, the rise of Europe, two world wars and politics today, The Silk Roads moves through time and history sewing together the threads from different people, empires and continents into a phenomenal history of the globe.

A magnificent book about how the east married the west with a remarkable voyage at its heart - the journey along the Silk Roads.

December 4th, 2018

Once there was a Fox who lived in a deep, dense forest. For as long as Fox could remember, his only friend has been Star, who lit the forest paths each night. But then one night Star was not there, and Fox had to face the forest all alone.

From award-winning designer, Carolie Bickford-Smith, comes a beautifully original fable about love, loss and learning to accept change. A gorgeous book to share this Christmas.

Shop the hardback edition The Fox and the Star (featured in the photo above) via Waterstones here, and the equally beautiful paperback edition here.

December 5th, 2018

Showcasing more than 100 animals in close-up detail, An Anthology of Intriguing Animals, is a beautifully fascinating animal encyclopedia with an enchanting twist. Arranged from biggest to smallest, the wildlife of the world is revealed with stunning photography, gorgeous illustrations and storybook descriptions.

From lions and butterflies to sharks and spiders children will discover amazing animal facts, such as why the slow-motion sloth is so sluggish and how the plodding pangolin protects itself from predators, as well as some of the stories and myths surrounding their favourite beasts.

With foil on the cover, gilded edges, and a ribbon for keeping your place, An Anthology of Intriguing Animals makes a perfect gift for any child who wants to explore the wilds and wonders of the Animal Kingdom. Shop the book here.

December 6th, 2018

Go on an intergalactic journey far beyond the Earth’s boundaries, across the Solar System, through the Milky Way and on towards the most distant galaxies in this beautiful guide, Planetarium.

Within its galleries you will visit places where no human has ever set foot, and view exhibits too large to hold in any museum.

As you turn the pages you’ll explore the stars through Chris Wormell's stunning illustrations. Whilst learning about the wonders of this universe from Professor of Astrophysics, Dr Raman Prinja.

Packed with amazing pictures and fascinating facts, prepare to step inside the pages of this spellbinding book and discover everything you ever wanted to know about space, planets and all things galactic.

Part of the beautiful Welcome to the Museum series the doors to the world’s most important and fascinating discoveries are always open..

Shop the book here.

December 7th, 2018

I Am the Seed That Grew the Tree, named after the first line of Judith Nicholls' poem 'Windsong', is a lavishly illustrated collection of 366 nature poems - one for every day of the year (including leap years!) - to share with a child or discover alone. Including much-loved classics, contemporary favourites, traditional rhymes and poetry in translation from familiar favourites and new discovered poets, including William Blake, Emily Bronte, Carol Ann Duffy and Eleanor Farjeon.

Published in collaboration with the National Trust, this anthology is a brilliant introduction to a wide range of nature poetry exploring the wonderful world of animals, plants, trees, weather and so much more.

With stunning full-colour illustrations by internationally acclaimed Frann Preston-Gannon, this is a inspiring, touching and thought-provoking book perfect for children (and grown-ups!) to share at the beginning or the end of the day, or just to dip into.

Shop the Waterstones Children's Gift of the Year 2018 here.

December 8th, 2018

Matt Haig and illustrator Chris Mould’s Christmas series is one of my favourite holiday reads and the Truth Pixie is back in this hilarious and heartwarming Christmas tale.

The Truth Pixie lives in The Far North and can’t sing or do magic tricks. She wants friends more than anything, but that isn’t easy for a truth-telling pixie.

Wherever she is, whatever the day, She only has one kind of thing to say. Just as cats go miaow and cows go moo, The Truth Pixie can only say things that are true.

A very funny and lovable tale of how one special pixie learned to love herself. The Truth Pixie is an enchanting, rhyming story that will delight younger readers, with brilliant inky illustrations.

Shop The Truth Pixie from Waterstones here, along with A Boy Called Father Christmas, The Girl Who Saved Christmas and Father Christmas and Me as well!

December 9th, 2018

A dazzling, feminist fairytale from bestselling author Jessie Burton, and illustrated by Angela Barrett, comes an inspirational story about family, sisterhood, imagination and bravery.

This magical modern retelling of The Twelve Dancing Princesses will become a modern classic to be handed down from mother to daughter for generations.

Shop the book here.

December 10th, 2018

What if we celebrated boys for their kindness as well their strength? For their generosity as well as their success? For their loyal friendship as well as their charm?

The Good Guys by Rob Kemp and illustrated by Paul Blow, is a gloriously illustrated celebration of 50 heroes who have changed the world with kindness and compassion.

Readers will find stories of extraordinary men including Muhammad Ali, Professor Green, Patrick Stewart and Lionel Messi, as well as unsung heroes such as James Harrison, who has spent fifty years donating his rare blood to save millions of babies. There's even a section celebrating ten boys who didn't let their young age stop them from helping others, such as Matthew Kaplan, who responded to his brother's bullies by setting up an anti-bullying programme for schools.

A life-changing book that shows kids it's cool to be kind. Shop the book here!

December 11th, 2018

From bestselling autho Oliver Jeffers comes this exquisite and thought-provoking picture book, Here We Are.

An optimistic snapshot of contemporary life with all of Jeffers’ wit and charm, Here We Are, takes all new earthlings on a delightful journey, introducing the many marvellous things that make up our home planet. From mountain ranges, flat plains, deserts, volcanoes and lakes – the sea, the sky, the human body, animals and night and day, this book does little more than set the scene, allowing for questions, answers and conversation to flourish.

A heartfelt hug of a book that will without a doubt become a classic. Shop the book here.

December 12th, 2018

Through the Water Curtain is a delightful, diverse selection of fairy tales from around the world. From Funke’s native Germany, to snowy Siberia, from Japan to Vietnam, this collection of lesser known tales brilliantly challenge the traditional ‘happily-ever-after’. Not to mention this book is presented as a beautiful hardback with gorgeous foiling and illustrations, making it a perfect gift this Christmas.

Shop Through the Water Curtain from Waterstones here.

December 13th, 2018

Growing up in her sleepy Cornish village dreaming of being a writer, sixteen-year-old Lou has always wondered about the grand Cardew house which has stood empty for years. And when the owners arrive for the summer - a handsome, dashing brother and sister - Lou is quite swept off her feet and into a world of moonlit cocktailparties and glamour beyond her wildest dreams.

But, as she grows closer to the Cardews, is she abandoning her own ambitions... and is there something darker lurking at the heart of the Cardew family?

A gorgeously dreamy coming-of-age romance set against a stunning 1920s Gatsby-esque backdrop, this is perfect for fans of I Capture the Castle and Eva Ibbotson.

Shop A Sky Painted Gold by Laura Wood from Waterstones here.

December 14th, 2018

Anne Spudvilas reimagines the classic tale of passion, betrayal, and heartbreak from the iconic ballet Swan Lake. Told from the dramatic riverscape of Australia's Murray-Darling basin tragic love story of a princess transformed into a swan by an evil sorcerer will make a beautiful gift for both young and old this Christmas.

Shop Swan Lake by Anne Spudvilas from Waterstones here.

December 15th, 2018

Through the dark and wolfish woods, through the white and silent snow, lived a small girl called Hortense. Though kind and brave, she was sad as an owl because of one thing... Hortense hated her shadow.

A beautifully illustrated fable of identity and self-acceptance, this contemporary fairy tale has the feel of a timeless classic. A treasure not to be missed.

You can shop the paperback edition of Hortense and the Shadow here, and Natalia and Lauren O'Hara's newest picture book, The Bandit Queen here.

December 16th, 2018

Explore the fascinating family histories of Ada Lovelace, Charlotte Bronte, John F Kennedy and many more with 30 family trees from around the world in this beautiful book, Famous Family Trees by Kari Mauge and illustrated by Vivien Mildenberger. This accessible, visually-stunning compendium of family trees features some of history’s most loved — and loathed — famous faces and is great fun for the whole family to explore. Genealogy and history combine to make a fascinating, fact-filled treasury of family trees belonging to famous people throughout the ages.

Shop Famous Family Trees via Waterstones here.

December 17th, 2018

Philip Pullman revisits his great fictional universe with this captivating first story of a new trilogy, The Book of Dust: La Belle Sauvage.

Malcolm Polstead's Oxford life has been one of routine, ordinary even. He is happiest playing with his daemon, Asta, in their canoe, La Belle Sauvage. But now as the rain builds, the world around Malcolm and Asta is, it seems, set to become increasingly far from ordinary. Finding himself linked to a baby by the name of Lyra Belacqua, Malcolm is forced to undertake the challenge of his life and to make a dangerous journey that will change him and Lyra for ever... A rich, dreamlike prequel that will take you on an otherworldly journey. What a gift it is to be allowed back into this universe.

The paperback edition of La Belle Sauvage (pictured above) can be shopped from Waterstones here, and the beautiful Waterstones Exclusive Harback Edition here.

December 18th, 2018

Into the Jungle is a modern classic in the making, as Katherine Rundell creates charming and compelling origin stories for all Kipling's best-known characters, from Baloo and Shere Khan to Kaa and Bagheera. As Mowgli travels through the Indian jungle, this brilliantly visual tale, which weaves each short story together into a wider whole, will make readers both laugh and cry.

A gorgeously produced gift hardback with foiled cover, a ribbon marker and colour illustrations throughout by creative genius Kristjana S Williams, this is truly a book for all the family to treasure and share.

You can shop Into the Jungle from Waterstones here, along with other beautiful retellings and inspired stories of The Jungle Books like HarperCollins gorgeous illustrated hardback with interactive elements including a map of the lost Indian city where Mowgli is taken by the monkeys; a trifold detailing the Laws of the Jungle; a spinning dial of the elephant dance; and a map of Kotick's route to find a new home (shop here!), and V&A's Collectors Edition illustrated by Liz Catchpole here

December 19th, 2018

Fur-raising tales of real-life Rebel Cats!

Discover secrets, stories and facts about history's most fascinating felines!

A engaging collection of over 30 real-life cat tales who are the heroes of their own stories await within these colourful and vibrant pages. With fur-raising facts and adventures from around the world and across the centuries, including WWII heroes, courageous adventurers, a Guinness World Record holder and even an astrocat that travelled in space, this is a perfect gift for any cat lover!

You can shop Rebel Cats: Brave Tales of Feisty Felines from Waterstones here.

December 20th, 2018

A teenage spy. A Nazi boarding school. The performance of a lifetime.

Sarah has played many roles - but now she faces her most challenging of all. Because there's only one way for a Jewish orphan spy to survive at a school for the Nazi elite. And that's to become a monster like them.

They think she is just a little girl. But she is the weapon they never saw coming... with a mission to destroy them all.

Described as 'deeply distributing and chillingly good', you can shop Matt Killen's incredible page-turning debut here.

December 21st, 2018

From the award-winning creator of The Queen's Hat and The Queen's Handbag comes a third hilarious Christmas tale taking the reader on a whirlwind royal tour of the world!

The Queen has raced around London and dashed all over the UK. Now she is setting off around the world in search of the perfect Christmas present - and she's not alone. Father Christmas is here to help!

From the North Pole to the Sydney Opera House, via the State of Liberty, the Eiffel Tower, the Pyramids and more - will the Queen find a gift that is truly special? And who is it for?!

Shop this wonderful romp of a read via Waterstones here.

December 22nd, 2018

From the bestselling author Kiran Millwood Hargrave comes a gorgeous wintry folk tale for young and old alike - an exciting adventure to the frozen north, perfect for Christmas.

Mila and her sisters live with their brother Oskar in a small forest cabin in the snow. One night, a fur-clad stranger arrives seeking shelter for himself and his men. But by the next morning, they've gone - taking Oskar with them. Fearful for his safety, Mila and her sisters set out to bring Oskar back - even it means going north, crossing frozen wild-lands to find a way past an eternal winter.

Shop the book here.

December 23rd, 2018

Follow Clara on a magical Christmas adventure in this musical retelling of The Nutcracker ballet – push the button on each beautiful scene to hear the vivid sound of an orchestra playing from Tchaikovsky’s original score.

The story follows Clara in her dreams as she battles and defeats a mouse king, then travels with her nutcracker-turned-prince to the Land of Sweets where she watches its enchanting inhabitants perform beautiful dances. As you and your little one journey through the magical scenes, you will press the buttons to hear 10 excerpts from the ballet’s music, including 'The Waltz of the Flowers', 'The Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy', 'The Russian Dance', and the awesome 'Finale'.

An enchanting way to bring classical music to life for children. Shop The Nutcracker and other of Jessica Courtney-Tickle's other Story Orchestra titles including Sleeping Beauty and out in 2019 Swan Lake via Waterstones through the links.

Christmas Eve!

Today’s Bookish Advent Calendar comes Alex T Smith’s irresistible story of the brave little mouse who sets out on an adventure on Christmas Eve.

Winston the mouse is on a Very Important Mission. On Christmas Eve, he finds a letter that has gotten lost on its way to Father Christmas – so, with no time to lose, he sets out to deliver it himself in time for Christmas Day! He has a lot of Very Exciting Adventures on his Very Important Mission and makes some wonderful friends along the way.

Featuring beautiful colour artwork from the author and Christmassy activities to make-and-do throughout, this irresistibly gorgeous book is sure to become a festive family tradition that will be enjoyed year after year. Shop here.

Christmas Day!

Merry Christmas bluebirds! I hope your stockings are full of loads of books. Today’s last Bookish Advent Calendar is the one and only, timeless Christmas classic, How the Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss! My favourite Christmas read!

With a heart two sizes too small, the Grinch is the meanest creature you’ll ever meet. He hates Christmas and the whole festive season. But when he hatches a dastardly plot to steal Christmas, he’s in for a big surprise!

With hilarious rhymes and beautiful illustrations, this classic seasonal story of joy, love and acceptance, has become a favourite for good reason and teaches readers the true meaning of Christmas.

Shop the paperback edition here, the special pocket-sized edition here, and now also in a very special foiled slipcase edition with extra material here.

Merry Christmas bluebird and a Happy New Year!

© 2018 Bluebird Reviews



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